Frederick Argall - Photographer
Truro, Cornwall, England
A veteran acting sergeant major of what appears to be either "E" or "F" company of the 1st (Duke of Cornwall's)
Rifle Volunteer (1st D.C.R.V.) which were based in Truro, Cornwall. The 1st D.C.R.V. was in effect the 1st Volunteer
Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.
This soldier saw active service in Egypt prior to serving with the volunteers as evidenced by the medals on his chest.
The first medal partially obscured by his cross belt would be the Egypt Medal. The second and most notable is the
Distinguished Conduct Medal. After this comes the Khedive's Star and finally a Long Service & Good Conduct
Medal or volunteer service medal.
The following information has been kindly provided by Mr. Graham Stewart:
The gentleman is in fact 'the acting sergeant major' of the 1st D.C.R.V. The reason for this is I noted his rank, which
denotes four chevrons, above which is a crown and he's also carrying a Rifle pattern sword, which denotes the rank
and privilege of a 'Warrant Officer Class 1'. Under normal circumstances a Sgt Major in the regulars would wear his
four inverted chevrons(i.e. point up), with the crown above on the right cuff of his uniform. However the large
Austrian knot prevented this on Volunteer uniforms and so they were worn point down above the right elbow.
According to Volunteer Regulations the S.M. was appointed by the C.O. of the unit from those Colour Sgt Instructors
serving with the unit on the permanent staff, who were actually regular Colour Sgt's on secondment to the
Further research may shed light at to this sergeant's identity. 135 DCMs were awarded during the Egyptian/Nile
campaigns (1882-1889) and narrowing these down to men who may continued to serve in the volunteers after leaving
the regulars may prove worth while.
Mr. Neil Boulton has kindly provided the following information about this man's possible identification:
I've just been looking at the above picture on your site (where incidentally he seems to have 4 stripes rather than the
usual 3 of a sergeant) The unit in question was of course a Volunteer Unit associated with the Duke of Cornwalls
Light Infantry (DCLI)
As you say, 135 DCMs were awarded for the Egypt/Sudan campaigns of the 1880s. Of these, 6 were actually to
soldiers of the DCLI. And of these 6, I can find only one who was also a recipient of an LSGC.
He was 557 Sgt Patrick Riordan of 2/DCLI (Mounted Infantry). Awarded DCM for Mahsama 24.8.82 and Kassassin
He was recommended for the LSGC on 1.10.1894, at which time he was a Col-Sgt at the DCLI depot.
I can also confirm Sgt Riordan on the Egypt medal roll (clasp for Tel-el-Kebir), and the Khedive's Star roll.
I'm not of course saying the photo is Sgt Riordan, but he's certainly the chief candidate. Only man of the DCLI to
have that medal combination. Would need more research to confirm if he served in the volunteers or not after leaving
The above information provided by Mr. Stewart and Mr. Boulton would seem to point to this man actually being No.
557 Colour Sergeant Patrick Riordan of the D. C. L. I. Naturally this identification is tentative pending further
|Left: Detail of
|His promotions were as follows:
Private - 14 July 1876
Lance-Corporal - 1 December 1878
Corporal - 15 February 1879
Lance-Sergeant - 7 February 1881
Sergeant - 1 April 1881
Colour-Sergeant - 1 December 1883
Re-engaged - 19 November 1887
Posted - Sergeant, 3rd Vol. Batt. DCLI - 27 July 1889
Colour-Sergeant - 6 February 1892
Posted - Colour-Sergeant, 1st Vol. Batt. DCLI - 22 June 1892
Discharged - 13 July 1897
|Riordan's overseas service included:
Bermuda - 22 October 1876 - 21 October 1880
Gibraltar - 16 February 1880 - 13 July 1882
Malta - 14 July 1882 - 19 July 1882
Egypt - 20 July 1882 - 16 June 1886
He took part in the 1882 Egyptian campaign (serving with the Mounted Infantry) and was wounded at Tel el Kebir
(clasp "Tel-el-Kebir" to his Egypt Medal) and would receive the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his part at the
actions at Mahsama and Kassassin. He would also take part in the Gordon Relief Expedition earning the additional
clasp "The Nile 1884-85" to his 1882 Egyptian Campaign Medal. He would also be awarded the Khedive's Star later
adding the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal.
Riordan was born in 1858 in Kilmallock, Limerick, Ireland. He was married to Elizabeth Julia Elliott at the church of St.
Mary and St. Boniface, Plymouth, Devon on 23 February 1890. In 1891 the census shows him as a Sergeant of the
DCLI living at Bodmin Barrack with his wife and widowed mother in law Kate Elliott. Ten years later the 1901 census
has him now living at the Staff and NCO Quarters at the New Gramby Barracks and Devon Militia Artillery Depot
again with his wife and an 11 year old girl - Kate Eunice Elliott - who may have been a niece. Here his occupation is
listed as "Barrack Warden A.S. Corps". This position - usually held by military pensioners - was responsible for the
care and supply of military barracks.
|Having found the service papers of No. 577
Patrick Riordan DCM, Colour-Sergeant of the
Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry I have come
to the conclusion that the man pictured is
indeed Riordan as his attestation documents
show him being posted to the 3rd Volunteer
Battalion, DCLI as a Colour-Sergeant on 6
February 1892 and later with the same rank to
the 1st Volunteer Battalion (1st D.C.R.V.) on
22 June 1892.
Riordan attested with the old 46th
(South Devonshire) Regiment of Foot at Clare
Castle on 14 July 1876 at the age of 18. He was
described as being 5 feet 6 3/4 inches tall with a
fair complexion, hazel eyes and sandy hair.